If you are tired of the usual annual package holiday why not consider holidaying in a gite in SW France.
A gite is perhaps the most traditional of French self catering accommodation and an ideal opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the French way and pace of life. Usually a gite is a rural holiday rental, frequently in a renovated traditional country cottage or barn conversion – in a village or in the countryside. Originally gites offered fairly basic, simple accommodation however, in recent years many gites now offer good quality accommodation or even luxury accommodation.
There are lots of different ways to book a gite: but take heed: booking through big online rental sites can be more costly and you can be sure most of the big booking sites are taking a good slice of the booking fee. Many gite owners struggle hard to make ends meet, and the big online rentals sites make the struggle even harder. Depending on the rental agency used, visitors can be charged a fee of up to 15 -20% on top of the rental charge – not to mention the commissions charged to property owners. What a waste, when you could have booked the gite at the best value by contacting the owners directly. And most gite owners do all they can to ensure good customer relations. Of course being a small business owning and running a small holiday complex (Domaine Du Sourire) comprising of 4 gites in Dordogne SW France we would highly recommend booking direct.
So what can you expect from a gite holiday at Domaine Du Sourire? We are located deep in rural France yet within easy reach of towns and villages – a really idyllic place where you can truly relax and unwind. Wthin the well maintained extensive grounds of Domaine Du Sourire is a large, welcoming swimming pool. Dive into the azure blue waters on those hot, hot sunny summer Dordogne days to cool off or simply to have some family fun with the abundant floats and water toys. Believing that accessibility should be the norm we built our pool with a ramp for ease of accessibility even for those who use wheelchairs! No need for embarrassing hoists in our pool. Surrounded by whitewashed walls and gated off for safety you can sun bathe and chill on the pool side loungers shaded by the sun umbrellas. Being a small complex of only 4 gites you can feel like this is your own private pool or a place to have fun with a few new friends and as there is always room for everyone there is no need to pop down early with your towel to reserve your space!
To add to the holiday experience at Domaine du Sourire we have a well maintained lawn where you can play games like football, basketball, boules and we even have a crazy golf course! There is a sand pit, trampoline and playpark for kiddies. We even have a wheelchair swing! There is a games room, soft play room and sensory room all on site for yur enjoyment.
The gites There are four gites, 2 two-bedroomed sleeping up to 5 people, 2 three bedroomed sleeping 6 and eight respectively. All of the gites have large, spacious open plan lounge and kitchen areas furnished with modern conveniences for your comfort, 3 of the gites have downstairs bedrooms and ensuite shower rooms and toilets suitable for accessibility ease. Upstairs are bedrooms, bathroom/shower and toilet. The beds are comfortable and we provide linen and towles at no additional charge. Each gite has a private patio furnished with patio table and chairs and a BBQ and they all face towards the beautiful shared courtyard with lovely shaded pergola where you can meet and enjoy some outdoor dining with new friends!
For a different perspective on our accommodation why not read some of our recent guest’s blogs:
Have you been to the Dordogne, leave us a comment
of your favourite thing to do or place to visit below in the comments. We would
love to hear from you and no doubt you’d be helping others too!
Domaine du Sourire is situated
within the Dordogne department but is close to the Charente department. This
gives our guests the best of both worlds, all within easy reach.
There is a plethora of articles
around the internet of things to do in Dordogne and Charente so there is not a
lot of point to me overloading you with the same information but I will include
some links at the end.
From what we have seen on our
travels in this area there are lots of historic and beautiful towns and
villages to visit, where you can meander medieval streets, visit old and
amazing monuments, even prehistoric caves! Then you can easily find a café,
take a break from all the activities on offer, order un Café, or un
chocolat-chaud or un vino… grab a seat outside and enjoy one of the best
loved French pastimes – people watching! Relax and watch the world go by!
It goes without saying you will
not have to go far to find a Chateau or gardens with the most beautiful blooms.
If picnics are your thing then find a grassy spot,
or a beach by the river and enjoy.
Should the kids want some water
fun there are water theme parks, or you can take a boat trip or go canoeing and
kayaking for the more adventurous. Perhaps water is not the thing for you? Why
not try a hot air balloon trip.
Shopping – lots of markets and
brocantes and of course Bordeaux, Angouleme, Bergerac and Périgueux are all
within easy reach.
Family time can be spent
leisurely cycling the beautiful country roads or well-marked safe cycling routes
enjoying the peace and tranquillity. What could be better than to jump on your
bike and enjoy exploring. Just imagine the sun on your face and the breeze in
your hair as you cycle through fields of sunflowers and vineyards!
There is something for all abilities,
interests and ages!
The Dordogne is renowned for its love of food and
you can dine out in one of many fine restaurants. Eating out with children can
be expensive but to keep costs down try the evening markets in July and August.
These are great fun and very reasonably priced. Plus, as they are outdoors and
very relaxed, children can run around and make a noise and generally enjoy
Of course, some days you will
just want to laze by our pool and enjoy the fun things on our grounds and maybe
even have a BBQ.
Whatever you want from a
holiday, and I haven’t even mentioned a visit to a vineyard or even cognac
tasting, it’s all within easy reach of the gites at Domaine du Sourire with fabulous hosts
Jackie and Terry.
Some links as promised, however
there are many more.
Last week we noticed strange rings on our lawn, so we set
about investigating what it was all about.
Some said aliens, some said some sort of fungi, some said
witches, dragons and yet some said fairies dancing has caused it.
Believing it to be a fairy ring we sat one night to watch
and see and sure enough it was not long before we saw something. We weren’t
sure at first what it was, it was like sparkling in the night around the ring,
it looked so magical. Then it seemed to disappear, and we thought perhaps we
had imagined it. But suddenly, a buzzing and a beating of wings and a tiny
fairy landed on Terry’s knee. She told us her name is Titania and she was so
gracious to allow us to interview her for our blog. Read on and see just what
the fairies are doing here at Domaine Du Sourire.
Terry: So Titania, that is quite the famous fairy name in
our world and a royal one at that, how did you come by your name?
Titania: I am a fairy princess, and my mother is Arabella
queen of our fairy nation, we live in Butterfly Springs. We are descendants of
the great Titania of whom you speak. So, my name is what you might say “a
Terry: O you say you are a princess, that’s exciting.
Titania: Yes, and one day I will govern our Fae folk in
Butterfly springs or Champagne et Fontaine as you know it in your world. I am
in training to be queen which is why I have been allowed to talk with you
Terry: You don’t say girl, what are you learning?
Titania: I’m learning how to be responsible. Being a fairy
queen is a very responsible role, it involves looking after all the fae folk,
young, old or in between, sick or well, at peace or war, o yes, it is a very
Terry: O I see, and you probably get to make a few laws then
do you!. Is there anything you would like to change when you are Queen?
Titania: Definitely, yes indeed I would, there are many
things I would change and one of them is to rid this place of cats! My mother
says they have a purpose but other than chasing us to eat us I have yet to see
that purpose. Then I would encourage all the young fairies and the elves to
dream big and work to make those dreams come true – even the silly ones like
growing ice lollipops in the garden all summer long.
Terry: Mmmm. Sounds great. I’d dream of a garden of
lollipops easy enough. So, is it true then that fairies love sugar?
Titania: Yes, yes yes! We love sugar but its not so good to
have too much! (or so I’m told!) So, we eat lots and lots of vegetables and
fruits and we love cream and milk too when we can get past those pesky cats to
Terry: Titania, tell me this then, why were the fairies
dancing around and making rings in my garden?
Titania: Some things I cannot tell you, but so you know it
is good. I am able to speak with you because you have been careful and not
broken our circle, and well I’m soo excited… I will just tell you some of our
dancing has to do with my getting engaged to my wonderful Aerwyna, he will be
Lord of the fae folk and rule with me!
I should say no more!
Terry: Well congratulations girl, glad to hear that and
thank you. Can I ask why you chose the garden of Domaine Du Sourire?
Titania: You can ask but I may not answer.
Terry: Oh, okay then. I’ll ask Jackie if there is anything else,
she would like to ask you.
Titania: Well I didn’t say I wouldn’t answer! I was just
testing you to see if you would be rude and push me for an answer. Many big
people are very rude! But you have been patient and gracious to me, and this is
the very reason we chose Domaine Du Sourire because of what you do here.
Let me explain, we Fae folk are kind, compassionate, gentle
yet noble folk. We love family and community is so important to us. Helping
others is what we small but not insignificant people do.
You are like that at Domaine du Sourire. We see your
hospitality to all and especially to those who have a disability. We think your
wheelchair swing and sensory room are just fantastic. So thoughtful. And kids,
they will just have the best time here.
Because you put others first, we chose this place and even
though you won’t often see us, we see you, you and your guests and the fun they
have on holiday and we have such pleasure here too albeit mostly unseen!
Terry: Thanks me girl for those kind words, you’ve just made
my night! And well, that’s good that you have fun, that’s what we want for
people when they come here on holiday to relax, enjoy their time and make loads
of happy memories to share with family and friends for years to come. Do you think any of our guests will ever
catch a glimpse of you?
Titania: Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps if a little one believes
Terry: I think your fiancée is waiting in you. He looks
Titania: Thank you, he really is, but I must fly now.
Perhaps we will meet again, if it is to be so I will leave you a sign. You will
know it. Goodbye Terry, Goodbye Jackie. Domaine du Sourire is now a friend of
the Fae folk. Be blessed.
We waved her off as she disappeared as quickly and invisibly
as she had appeared. How lovely to have met Titania and maybe if you are to
come to Domaine du Sourire you might just catch sight of the fairies of
Butterfly Springs but be careful to not break a step into their fairy rings.
PS Titania said we were not allowed photos, so we took some
from google (free copyright of course) to brighten this article.
As today is World Autism Awareness Day, we would like to
introduce you to 16-year-old Natalie. Natalie is autistic and is very proud of
What is autism? The National Autism Society describes Autism
as a “lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the
world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to
other people. …autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often
people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share
certain difficulties but being autistic will affect them in different ways. “
raise awareness for Autism Natalie had a haircut. Perhaps for many this sounds
like a simple thing, but Natalie contemplated this cut for a long time, and it
is something that is very difficult for her because her hair is one of her
triggers. Natalie doesn’t like anyone touching her hair and is only comfortable
with her mother styling her hair. And a haircut can change one’s appearance
which as Natalie considered this it was very challenging BUT, like everything
else in her life that has proven a challenge, Natalie stepped up to it!
Without adding detail, she was abruptly made
aware of the horror that is cancer which made an impact on her. She loves the
fact that she can help in a small way by donating her hair to help make a wig
for a young person. Natalie took time to prepare herself for the hair cut and
initially the date was set for 5th April, but the school Natalie
attends wanted to get involved and support her, so she had her hair cut at
school on March 26.
If you would like to help and support Autism Awareness and Natalie in particular, you can do so through JustGiving. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So, it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
There is still time to support and encourage
Why is awareness important? Chatting with Natalie’s
mum, Georgina, she said,
received her diagnosis about 10 years ago now and we received literally no
support. I have been delighted at how much this has changed. Awareness and
understanding of Autism is so important to us because it’s not an easy journey.
We asked Natalie’s mum what advice she would have
for parents whose child has just received a diagnosis, she said
hard!! Ehm it’s a long, hard but very rewarding journey. It’s important to
remember that an autistic person isn’t broken, they don’t need fixed. Their
brain works differently from a non-autistic person. I’ve always taught Natalie
this and to be proud that she thinks differently because it’s pure and
beautiful. You need a whole lot of love, time and patience but also perseverance
because anything is possible but in their own time. We talk about changes if possible,
for a long time before it happens. Most importantly, don’t feel peer pressured
by parents with children of the same age as they will never be the same. I have
learned so much from having Natalie and unfortunately the world is full of
judgemental people with little time or patience it’s tough, but I don’t hide
this from her. She needs to be able to stand up for herself and be proud. I
make lots of mistakes and am still learning too.”
Domaine Du Sourire is a holiday complex with 4
gites, 3 of which are accessible. It is our vision to make holidays accessible
for everyone, a space where you can holiday without feeling judged. Not only do
we have 3 accessible gites we have a soft play and a sensory room on site. We
welcome those with the so-called hidden disabilities such as Autism, ADHD,
learning difficulties to name a very few, this is the main reason the Sensory room
was built so a space for kids or adults to go to for a break. This year we are
revamping our sensory garden too. Families and individuals, with disability or
with no disability, are welcome to enjoy a memorable holiday experience at
Domaine Du Sourire.
Home of the delicious renowned Cornuelle is virtually on the
doorstep of Domanine Du Sourire in the nearby historic village od Villebois
The Cornuelle is a triangular shortbread cake with a hole in
the middle and is traditionally associated with Palm Sunday or as it is called
in french, Le Dimanche des Rameaux.
The shortbread biscuit is brushed with egg yolk, to which a
few aniseed seeds are added at all three corners. The two artisan bakers of
Villebois jealously guard their recipe which they hold of their respective
predecessors. That’s all we’ll know; the rest is top secret. Although today,
more elaborate recipes can be found, and it’s not uncommon to find cornuelles
filled with whipped cream or mousseline cream. No matter it’s mystery the taste
of this mysterious little shortbread is truly addictive!
The village celebrates with an annual festival where
ginormous Cornuelles are baked ands take pride of place in a precession before
being broken and shared among the people.
In this part of France box-tree branches instead of palms
are used to commemorate the Dimanche des
Rameaux. Box-tree, being a perennial
shrub with very resilient dark green leaves is an ideal symbol of life and so
its use in certain regions of France rather than the palms. in Villebois
Lavalette, the mass of the branches and the blessing of the boxwood takes place
under the Hall, in the open air before the Cornuelles shared around.
In Villebois-Lavalette, the festival attracts a very large
audience and about 12 000 cornuelles are sold in one day. During the blessing,
a sprig of box tree can be slipped through the middle.
Apart form the blessing ceremony and procession of the giant
cornuelles with many in costume there is much more to enjoy for the family. The
village is beautifully decorated with copious greenery of box twigs on store
fronts, along the streets, the open town Hall square, anywhere and everywhere! There
is sometime a flea market on, children’s workshops, pony rides, horse drawn
carriage rides, exhibitions, competitions and more but don’t forget a visit to
the Chateau, it is unmissable! You can enjoy the whole day enjoying a lunch if
you have registered. A wonderful way to celebrate the end of lent and to commemorate
the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Why not plan a short Easter break for your family enjoying the benefits of our accommodation at Domaine Du Sourire and plan to take in this festival on Palm Sunday in the nearby historic village of Villebois with its impressive Chateau that overlooks the village. Browse through our website and book today, it’s not too late! www.domainedusourire.com
If we were to turn our Facebook or Instagram page green this
month you could be forgiven for thinking that given our Irish roots, we are
celebrating St Patrick’s in style.
However green is also the colour for Cerebral Palsy Awareness and March
is CP Awareness Month!
Do you know what Cerebral Palsy is? The main symptoms of
cerebral palsy are problems with movement, co-ordination and development.
However, it’s not a one size fits all, there are four main types of cerebral
palsy and many variations within these types. No two people with the disability will be the
So, what can you do for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month?
Don’t be apprehensive of people with cerebral
palsy. Introduce yourself, say, “Hello, how are you?” have a conversation …Who
knows you might find a best friend, or even a future spouse. Cerebral palsy is
what a person has. It is not a statement about who they are.
You could educate others and spread awareness on
Wear green this month and support Cerebral Palsy
can you be sure you are getting the best holiday deals? Even in the age of
online booking with price comparison sites it can be hard to know what truly the
best way is to find that perfect holiday home. From considering location and facilities
to budget, there is a lot to think about! Sometimes, to ensure you have the
most seamless experience as possible, it is best to go straight to the source
and book direct. We have put together a few good reasons why booking direct is
#BookDirect cut out the middle man and save
The best reason to book direct
is the money you will save! Many online holiday booking sites like Booking.com,
AirBnB, Trip Adviser, HomeAway and so on add fees to your booking total. This
can amount to a lot of ££££££’s. Imagine what you can do with the money you
save – a vineyard tour, extra spends for the market days, a visit to Chateau?
The list is endless.
Because of the cost of using
the big sites, some of the best holiday homes can’t be found on the major
websites. By limiting your search to these websites, you might be missing out
on the best accommodation for your family or group.
However, while online travel
operators and comparison sites are useful to see what accommodation is
available for your chosen destination, when you cut out the middle man, you cut
out the commission and fees they charge! Many holiday rentals have a “best
price guarantee” for booking direct, so it’s always worth having a look to see
if there’s a better deal available and booking direct.
#BookDirect to build that relationship
and tap into great local knowledge
Not everything in life, or in
holidays, comes down to money. There are a wide range of benefits to booking
direct that can’t be summed up on a receipt. A direct exchange between buyer
and seller inevitably results in a closer connection and builds that worthwhile
have intimate knowledge about the destination and accommodation, they know the
property and the area better than anyone and can help you plan a better holiday
experience, optimising dates and budgets to suit your needs.
They can send you to the best
activities, restaurants, and local sights.
When booking a holiday
accommodation, peace of mind is vitally important.
Want to know if there is a water-park,
a hot-tub, a supermarket close by? Want to know where the best markets are and
on what days? Want help to book your excursions? When you book direct, you can find out many of
these important questions and more before you commit to booking.
From events and activities to
special rates to onsite services, with direct communication with owners, you
get the insider knowledge and the best offers!
#BookDirect – accommodating your special and travel needs
Travellers with special needs
and requests can work directly with the owner in a much more personal way to
give you assurances before you commit to booking and to help you create a
guaranteed amazing holiday experience.
If your trip doesn’t turn out
exactly as you planned and you need to change dates or even cancel your
accommodation outright, you will often find that holiday rentals are far more
accommodating with direct bookers. Booking through a comparison site may leave
you at the mercy of their terms and conditions, which are designed to protect
their commission. Whereas booking direct can often have far more favourable
conditions, especially if you’re a valued loyal customer.
Return guests are truly
welcome, owners love to welcome you back again and often reward your loyalty
with special discounts and offers.
It’s easy! #BookDirect gets better results, better value and a better holiday!
Now you are here, look around our website and see what we have to offer. In short, we have 4 gites, 3 are fully accessible as is our pool, soft play room, games room and sensory room and our grounds. We pride ourselves on doing what we can to meet your needs so you have the holiday you deserve. although you can book direct online, we are happy to chat with you by phone or email anytime through the process. We look forward to hearing from you.
Domaine du Sourire caught up with Danny Furey, retired Scottish Paralympian. Scottish born Danny competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was selected for the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992.
Impressions on meeting this inspirational man are his wonderful sense of humour, indomitable Christian spirit and genuine humility. Danny has communication challenges, but this does not inhibit him being great company, his great-nephew Daniel said of him “he is the type of guy you could sit and listen to for hours! He has filled his life with so many adventures, the stories never run dry.” You cannot walk away untouched by this man whose smile is infectious and whose heart almost explodes with a care for others.
Danny told me he was born in June 1950 in Dundee, the youngest of three. Danny went on to say:
born with Cerebral Palsy as a result of the rhesus syndrome which then was
called the blue baby syndrome. I lived, some didn’t. Some are physically
impaired, whereas some have mental problems, and yet some have both. I lived at
home for the first 5 years then it was suggested that I go to a special school
in Edinburgh where I boarded until I was 16 years old getting home for the
school holidays, it was tremendous strain on my family especially mum &
drew you into wheelchair racing?
never thought of entering wheelchair athletics until I was 31 or32. I can’t remember exactly what drew me to
competitive racing because my first love was football in sports, which was out
for me. Although now they have
wheelchair football and wheelchair rugby which, with my competitiveness, would
have been a bit dangerous. Had these sports come earlier I might not have been
here to tell the tale!”
As Danny has said he began competitive wheelchair racing in the early 1980’s, in the days before special racing chairs or Paralympic Games.
He raced for 10 years, becoming known as one of the world’s finest foot-pushing wheelchair racers of the time before being selected for the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992.
Twenty-nine Scottish athletes were selected
for the GB team for the Paralympic Games in 1988. Over four thousand
competitors from sixty-one nations took part and for the first time
Paralympians accessed the same stadia and were supported by the same officials
as the Olympians of 1988. I asked Danny:
did it feel like to be selected to represent your country at the Seoul
“Depends on what you mean by country, I gained a lot from my Scotland selection but didn’t fancy the British set up. It was an honour to be selected for GB, but the experience taught me from the organisation of the BPA it didn’t really inspire unity among the different disability groups that were represented.”
Richard Brickley MBE – President Disability Sport Fife told me “I was in Seoul in South Korea in 1988 with Danny. It was his finest hour and the last occasion when foot pushing wheelchair athletes competed at the Paralympic Games. Danny’s greatest rivals were Danish, Irish and American. The great Dane, as he was known, was the world champion. Danny was the most likely athlete to defeat him over 200 metres. Danny pushed forward and the Great Dane pushed backwards. The result of the race is irrelevant but my memory of these two amazing athletes at full speed never deviating from their lanes will remain with me forever. The crowd in the packed stadium in Seoul were on their feet. One of the great moments in Para Athletics.”
In each direction travelling for team GB must
have been a gruelling journey for athletes and support staff alike. I asked
how did you manage the challenges of travelling to a foreign country?
“Quite well, but there were some of us that suffered a lot of jet lag
including me. My body clock was all over the place. I was waking up at 3am
thinking it was time to get up and dressed, then having to reverse the whole
process. That’s just one of the issues I felt personally. Our wheelchairs and
the stuff that we needed for training with came about two days after we
arrived. I remember we were told not to eat anything like beef burgers because
they might be cat or dog, and they told us if a policeman said stop, he would
mean it by showing us his gun!”
What Danny hasn’t said is that for many of the
team it was a demanding journey of moving and handling in the most confined of
spaces. For all the team, Seoul was a steep learning curve. So, I asked Danny
if he felt travelling had improved.
you think transport and services for people with disabilities has improved?
“Mainland Britain and Northern Ireland could do with some improvement particularly with public transport. It seems that public buildings are catching up, but some structures need access improvement even for some ambulant. I feel those with mental health issues and the visually impaired are most catered for but there is room for improvement here too.”
Danny does not
believe in sitting back waiting for others to take action, either. In an unfortunate
incident Danny got stuck in a church toilet in 2014. While struggling with his
wheelchair he fell and got stuck, waiting 20 minutes before someone came to
He told Dundee’s
Evening Telegraph in 2014, “I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for
others to do things, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands.”
Staging a sponsored wheelchair run around
Dundee, he raised more than £1,000 to hire an architect to draw up plans for
new toilets. Despite dreadful weather on the day – pouring rain with thunder
and lightning – unwavering, Danny completed his wheelchair marathon. He said he
was “determined to do it regardless.”
would be the top thing you would like to see improved in services for
in the caring side and more awareness what caring for people with disabilities
requires, not treating everyone with the same brush remembering that disability
comes with many varied and different caring needs.”
Danny believes that it’s not just able-bodied people who need to work to improve services, he went on to say:
people need to learn that sometimes things will still be out of reach and
able-bodied people are not at their beck & call.”
are your most prominent challenges and how do you overcome them?
“Accepting the way that I need more support, sometimes it seems as if
everything is being stripped away but I guess that’s goes for all people
whether they’re disabled or not. This is where my faith makes me able to cope,
as a Christian I find strength in knowing that Jesus is always with me and no
matter what comes up I find peace when I lean on Him. Many times, in the hurly
burly of life I don’t think that God hears me but in my heart of hearts I know
that He’s just a prayer away. Someday, I know that I will know what my life has
been all about.”
Having begun fundraising for new toilets for his church in 2014, Danny has gone on to raise funds for other charities, one being the Uphill Trust a small Scottish charity founded in January 2015 to support the development of Uphill Junior School, located in Uganda. I asked Danny,
I hear you still
do some wheelchair racing, why is it important to you to do these charity
“Children. Especially children who don’t have much of a chance in life. In places like Uganda they have less of a chance because their dreams have been shattered before they dream them.”
He went on to correct me,
“I don’t race any more, I just do
little marathons around Dundee accompanied by my wife Liz who has started doing
them as well.”
“And knowing that no matter what comes up, no matter what’s been taken away, I will always have Jesus. Friends mean a lot, but I’d better put your Auntie, who just happens to be my wife Elizabeth”, and he continued, laughing, as he said “she bullies me continually (that’s not true, – well not all the time!)”
Danny Furey, an amazing gentleman whose friendliness is evident to all who meet him; an outstanding sportsman and a legend in disability sport whose contribution to Dundee, Scotland and Great Britain is significant. It hasn’t stopped there, of course, his impact is reaching across the world to Uganda and elsewhere. Richard Brickley told me this little snippet, which sums up uncle Danny so well (for he is my uncle!) “Danny will also be remembered as one of the first high performance Para athletes to compete in very fetching coloured tights. Now everybody does. A real trailblazer in so many ways.”
Thank you, Danny, for taking the time to let Domaine du Sourire and our readers have a little window into your life and to be inspired by you.
Domaine du Sourire is an accessible holiday complex
owned by Jackie and Terry Grant. Their
dream that people with disabilities can have a memorable holiday led them to Domaine
du Sourire an inclusive place to cater for guests of all abilities. Jackie and
Terry always enjoyed their many holidays across the world and they wanted to
have a place that would give guests everything they felt a self-catering
holiday complex should have.
“We have 4 gites,
a heated swimming pool with a ramp for wheelchair access, games room, soft play
room and sensory room. Our sensory garden is being given a makeover this year,”
Jackie told me.
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Woohoo, we survived our very first guests. A group booking filling all 4 of our gites. It was a challenging but wonderful experience which has inspired us right at the outset of our journey.
POPSY (parents of partially sighted youngsters) is a support group for parents and carers of youngsters who are blind, have ‘special needs’ and with life-limiting conditions. It was set up by Tymandra, mum to Arwen Poppy who has a “special” syndrome ‘Warburg Micro Syndrome’, an extremely rare genetic condition (only 1 in 230 million people in the world diagnosed so far). Tymandra says she set up the group to keep herself positive and as an attempt to empower others who may feel out of control or are not sure what to do next and who feel alone.
Tymandra tirelessly works hard to support families of children who are blind, have special needs or life limiting conditions as well as fundraising for and organising day trips, activities and holidays for families.
5 families and 2 bus drivers arrived on a Saturday afternoon. The sun was shining so they wasted no time in offloading their belongings, which believe me were extensive, and headed straight for the cool azure blue shimmering waters of the newly installed “heated” pool.
As they were splashing around and having the time of their lives I received a phone call from my friend in the neighbouring region of Charente to say a storm was heading our way. No sooner had I set the phone down and headed towards the pool to let the newly arrived guests know when the storm suddenly appeared out of nowhere and it really hit us. Parasols blew into the water, pool toys upped and away. As our guests quickly scampered to the safety of their dry and comfortable gites we sorted the pool and things getting well and truly soaked but thankfully managed to avoid being struck by lightning.
What a start to their week and what a start to our new life in “sunny” France.
Thankfully the sun did return, and our guests had some lovely outings including Brantôme, Oradour-sur-Glane and Aubterre-sur-Dronne.
This group’s holiday and outings would not have been possible without the amazing JUMBALANCE a cross between a bus and ambulance. How the drivers, Brendan and Gary, managed to manoeuvre it along the, sometimes, very tight track roads in the Dordogne and through the tiny narrow streets of the French villages amazes me. This amazing bus provides accessibility to people who may not otherwise be able travel. Visit their website and support them in this amazing job they do. www.jumbulance.org.uk
A full programme was organised with morning and afternoon activities as well as evening entertainment, we even managed to bag a celebrity to do the disco nights, we were thankful to Dawn Camilli one of the Candy Stripes (@frenchcandies- look them up on Facebook and Instagram) singers who lent us the lights and DJ’d for us. On rainy mornings the group were able to take advantage of the “games” room which converted to an activity hall by day and a disco by night. Activities included an art workshop and craft making. We arranged patisserie tasting, fromage tasting and a wine taster as well as Cognac v Armagnac, Cidre v Calvados and Fizz v Champagne evenings. We included a walking trip to a local dairy with ice cream tasting.
Disco Divas dancing the night away
Cidre or Calvados? a little tasting
French knitting with granny wendy
Lets do this inside it’s a bit chilly
The last day for this group was truly amazing as it was a special boy’s 9th birthday, he enjoyed a pool party, then some scrummy goodies and a fabulous cake baked by our local boulangerie and finished off with a BBQ. The sun shone marvellously that day and a fantastic time was had by all.
POPSY – Domaine du Sourire just can’t wait until you’re back again next year!
POPSY is a small charity that deserves support –you can help by sponsoring- sponsor forms are available.
Or if you would like to make a donation, please get in touch: email@example.com or via Facebook.
Check out their website at www.popsy.org.uk
At Domaine du Sourire we aim to make your holiday as fun and as welcoming as possible. We can work with you to arrange packages for groups. Whether your group booking is for a holiday or retreat we endeavour to be as accommodating as possible to suit your needs. We can accommodate creative writing, artists, wellbeing, business or church/spiritual groups as well as groups of family or friends just wanting a great holiday together. Whatever your needs are chat to us and we can work out a programme of activity with you. And if you are not a group don’t worry each Gite is self-contained; individuals and families, alike, are welcome.
Will Domaine du Sourire suit me for a holiday, will it meet my wants and needs for that well-earned break and why should I choose Domaine du Sourire?
Jackie and Terry, the hosts at Domaine du Sourire, would answer that first question with a maybe. They passionately tell you that Domaine du Sourire has amazing unique things on offer that will readily meet a variety of expectations and needs for that perfect holiday, however, they equally readily admit it will not meet everyone’s desires and needs and it is wise to consider what it does offer before making a commitment to book.
Jackie advises that you should know what you want when you are choosing and yes it can be hard when so many offer the same thing: great location and stunning views, clean and comfortable gites with all mod-cons, lovely welcome pack and gated swimming pool.
So what sets Domaine du Sourire apart? What makes Domaine du Sourire unique?
Whether you are an individual or a family or a couple, there is something at Domaine du Sourire for you.
Each of the gites have their own private patio for those alone moments or family time but what is wonderful at Domaine du Sourire is the courtyard which all guests share. This is an amazing spot and Jackie and Terry have furnished it with a massive table – which was made by Jackie’s dad, Sandy, who has since passed away, (you can read about the beginnings and the hope of Domaine du Sourire in another blog) and he made it from the original barn doors.
The courtyard is a space where families and strangers can come together in the evening or the morning or during the day to share fun times, have bring-your-own meals together, or do a BBQ and put on some homegrown entertainment. You never know what talents others have as well as taking the opportunity to showcase your own. Jackie and Terry do love a karaoke and maybe you can persuade them to hold one. These are what makes the amazing holiday memories and where long-lasting friends are found.
Domaine du Sourire is a place where one visit is never enough, you will want to come back year after year.
What makes Domaine du Sourire unique? The passion and commitment to ensure you have the best holiday experience whatever your ability. Jackie has said, “You are what makes us unique, each and every guest.”
You can read about other facilities we offer on our website and check out the other blogs in the series.